Ugly Cinderella row as fans demand refunds after star misses show

The star of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical has pleaded with fans to stop berating theatre actors for taking days off and demanding refunds.

Carrie Hope Fletcher told social media followers it was "not cool" to send messages directly to actors and their understudies, spelling out their annoyance.

Fletcher, who is playing Cinderella in Lloyd Webber’s new production, said she understood the disappointment when lead roles are taken by understudies, but urged ticket-holders to be polite.

She wrote to her half a million Twitter followers:

I get that it’s disappointing not seeing the actors you had hoped to see but PLEASE don’t message those actors to say how much they’ve disappointed you? Or ask *them* for a refund? Whilst tagging the person you DID watch in your complaint? 🥴 Just…not cool. Don’t be that person.

— Carrie Hope Fletcher (@CarrieHFletcher) October 10, 2021

The actress, who went to theatre school and began her acting career aged five, before rising to further fame on her YouTube channel, had told fans earlier that day: "Slight scheduling change at Cinders today and I will now only be performing in this evening’s show. This afternoon you will be watching the marvellous Georgina Onuorah!!!"

Fletcher's understudy Georgina Onuorah as Cinderalla

She said "something rotten has wiped me out" and told one disappointed follower: "Can’t schedule not being well I’m afraid."

On Sunday, Fletcher appeared to be responding to a message which read: "Should get a percentage refund considering I took my wife to the matinee for her birthday specifically to see you perform.

"The understudy was good but even more of a kick in the teeth that you decided to do the evening show. Even more of a kick in the teeth."

Fletcher replied directly with a copy of the booking terms and conditions, telling him: "You booked to see Cinderella. And you got to see Cinderella."

The theatre community rallied around on Twitter, decrying those who did not want to see talented understudies stepping up to perform.

Actor Layton Williams, who plays the title role in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, echoed the sentiment, saying: "If ever I’m off the show (trust me) it’s for good reason!

"So I’ll probably be more gutted than you… Plz don’t @ me coz all it’s gonna do is make me feel worse than I already do.

"Think before you tweet."

The Cinderella website gives dates of the performances Fletcher has booked off for holidays, in an attempt to prevent superfans booking specifically to see her and being disappointed.

It adds: "No refunds or exchanges will be offered as a result of any artist’s unavailability to perform at any performance."

It is the latest debate over etiquette in the social media era, which has transformed the theatre-going experience with mobile phone photographs and mini-reviews published online before official press nights.

The Telegraph awarded Cinderella four stars, calling it an "utterly charming crowd-pleaser".

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